When it comes to dogs that like to swim, ear care becomes of utmost importance. This is especially true for the American Water Spaniel. The ear canal of a dog has a much different shape than a humans. Furthermore, with the American Water Spaniel's ears covering the canal's opening, air flow is greatly reduced. Even in dogs that don't swim, this can provide a warm moist place where bacteria easily flourish. With dogs that do like to swim, adding water to the equation can make things even worse. Ear infections are known to be a very common problem for water dogs. Those who opt for an American Water Spaniel should expect to make ear care a weekly routine. [...]
Otitis externa is a general name for a problem that seems to affect nearly all breeds at some point or another, and for a wide variety of causes: the ear infection. One of the most perplexing diseases that can befall your dog, ear infections usually produce no symptoms until the problem is already well under way and even then, extensive testing is required to determine which of the many possible causes is behind this particular outbreak.
Signs that a dog's ears might be infected include behavioral symptoms such as incessant scratching of the affected ear, unexplained back and forth shaking of the head, and a sensitivity of the skin around the ear. Other clinical signs include a pungent odor emanating from the interior of the ear, a visible discharge of any color, dark waxy buildup, and raised or swollen ear flesh. [...]
One of the characteristics that makes the Beagle, and many other hound breeds for that matter, so appealing are those long, floppy ears. Combine them with that soulful expression and you have a weapon of mass cuteness almost unparalleled in the natural world. Those long, floppy ears were not merely created for their cuteness factor, however. Indeed, you'll notice that almost all scent hounds, like Beagles, have those long floppy ears; these ears are perfect for stirring up odor molecules that make up a scent trail, trapping those molecules and getting them to that incredibly sensitive nose. [...]
Although close to the bottom of the rankings in the number of registrations in the American Kennel Club at number 142 out of 156 breeds, the Irish Water Spaniel is really a remarkable dog. Why the breed is not more popular is a bit of a mystery since they are a large spaniel that is wonderfully athletic without being hyperactive, very easy to train and socialize and ideal with children and families. [...]
With the exception of the American Cocker Spaniel, most of the spaniel breeds have been able to avoid the huge surge in popularity that often leads to health and genetic issues within a particular breed or line. Unfortunately for the American Cocker Spaniel they have been a very popular breed, leading to a significant number of puppies produced every year by backyard breeders and puppy mills that are only into breeding for a profit, not for the enhancement or overall health of the puppies that they produce. This massive number of poorly bred American Cockers has caused some increased health issues within the breed, so choosing a puppy from a reputable breeder is essential. [...]
Hounds, as a group of dogs that were bred for hunting and not for show, are generally very healthy dogs. The major health issues that are seen are no different than for many of working dogs and they tend to be issues that are either genetic or those that can be relatively easily managed, treated and prevented provided owners are aware of the symptoms and respond quickly. [...]
All of the American Hounds are considered to be coonhounds, which means this is the primary game they have been developed to hunt. All of the dogs can also hunt virtually any other animal as well, with a history of hunting deer, rabbits and even predator animals such as bear and coyotes in many of the different breed histories. As such these dogs have been developed to be very healthy, athletic and strong animals and they are remarkable free from most of the major genetic issues that can be found in other purebred dog lines. [...]